21 Mar 19 Sustainable Shoe Brands with the Chicest Flats
Casual everyday footwear for females often comes in the form of the flat. Below are 19 sustainable, ethical, vegan, and slow shoe brands that produce the chicest flats around. Whether its an oxford, loafer, or ballet flat, I’m sure these brands will give you your new favorite sustainable day shoe.
Type: Vegan & Sustainable
Best For: Pointed and Rounded Toe Flats
Rothy’s flats are high tech, sustainable, and comfortable. They are made out of recycled water bottles and knitted by a 3D knitting process. Then they are handcrafted. One of the best things about Rothy’s is you don’t need to destroy your feet by breaking them in. My favorites are the Scooter Red and the Maritime Navy.
Best For: Ballerinas
Cork is such a versatile material, and not to mention sustainable, it’s great to see it featured so prominently in all of Queork’s products. Queork sources their cork from Portugal and they produce their products in New Orleans with many of their employees coming from the Youth Empowerment Project in New Orleans.
Type: Sustainable & Vegan
Best For: Slip-ons & Ballet Flats
I’ve featured many of Komodo’s clothing options, but I didn’t know they made shoes till recently. Like their clothing line, their shoes are incredibly sustainable featuring materials like recycled tire rubber and organic cotton. THey use eco-friendly and vegan-friendly dyes and use local manufacturing skills when they can.
Best For: Ballet Flats
They’ve been creating luxurious and stylish vegan bags for a while, and now Gunas New York is starting to expand into shoes! So far they’ve got a small selection of flats that include ballet flats and loafers. My favorites are the Aubrey Loafers. They are produced ethically and are totally sweatshop free, and the materials are PETA approved vegan leather and upcycled rubber.
Type: Vegan & Made in USA
Best For: Oxfords
These flats are made with vegan leather and designed in L.A. They are made by Beast Fashion. Their oxford’s come in a variety of colors and feature the pointed toe and a lightly padded insole for comfort.
Type: Sustainable & Vegan
Best For: Ballet Flats & Oxfords
Straight from Bangkok comes Hexa, a PETA approved footwear brand that also uses sustainable materials. Their vegan leather is Japanese microfiber that is three times stronger and lighter than animal leather. My favorite flat styles are the Bella Donna and the Ladybug.
Best For: Ballet Flats & Oxfords
Everyday flats with stunning prints and embroidery fill the catalog at Darzah. The embroidery that makes these shoes so special is the Palestinian “tatreez” embroidery that is traditionally passed from mother down to daughter. My favorites have to be the Rose Gold Dress Shoe and the Tatreez Oxford in Nude. Darzah is a non-profit ethical shoe brand whose mission is to create economic opportunity for refugee and low-income Palestinian woman and to preserve Palestinian cultural heritage at the same time.
Best For: Mules & Pointed Flats
The flats at Huma Blanco are artisanal and bright. Huma produces in the largest artisanal factory in Lima, Peru with locally sourced leathers. My favorites are the Ilaria Mule and the Posy Half d’Orsay Flat. Every shoe is handmade and dyed using natural dyes. Huma herself is a third-generation shoemaker and wants to showcase the natural beauty of Peruvian textiles while creating long-term stability for other artisans who work for her.
Best For: Slides & D’Orsay
Able is fully transparent with what they pay their workers. They publish what even the lowest paid person makes to help make the whole fashion industry more accountable. They work in Ethiopia, Mexico, and Peru providing an alternative to an endless cycle of poverty for many women. My favorites? The Sarah d’Orsay and the Lizbeth Evening Slide.
Best For: Loafers, Mules, Ballet Flats, Oxfords
Everlane makes it onto a lot of the listicles I create because they have such good basics. Their flat shoes are no different. My favorites are the Editor Slingback and the Day Glove. All Everlane shoes are made in ethical Italian shoe factories that have been around for generations and use highly trained artisan craft to perfect each shoe. The leather in their flat shoes is a mix of vegetable tanned and half-chrome. The chrome is added to give the shoe more longevity.
Best For: Loafers & Oxfords
Sleek, natural, and ready for long term wear are what you can expect from the flats at Nisolo. My favorites are the Brandy Smoking Shoe and the Mariella Mule. They have a factory in Peru where they pay above fair wages there and the employees have contracts that give them a stable wage that isn’t available in the informal market economy. They source the two different types of leather they use (nubuck and vegetable tanned) in Peru as well. You can also return your flats and they will donate them to Soles4Souls and they are refurbished by micro-entrepreneurs and resold.
Best For: Loafers
The flats from Mohinders are cute and perfect for a hot day. They are all handcrafted by artisan craftsmen that are a part of an artisan cooperative that works in rural India. Mohinders sources directly from artisans to make sure the artisans making their shoes are paid a fair wage and don’t need to borrow any money when sourcing raw materials. The leather used is vegetable-tanned water buffalo leather.
Best For: Mules
Every Alepel pair of shoes is unique because of the handcrafted and handpainted nature of their shoes. They are designed for the modern woman who wants to make a statement. They are produced in Brazil and painted by Miami-based artists. My favorites? The Tiger Mule and the Eye and Leaf Mule.
Best For: Ballet flats
The Root Collective partners with independent workshops in Guatemala. They pay beyond fair wages to their produces because everyone deserves steady safe work. The Root Collective also provides an alternative to gang violence that is rampant throughout Guatemala. My favorite flat? The Thea.
Best for: Mules
Sanayi 313 is actually not just a shoe brand, they are a concept store in Istanbul. Turkish artisan craftsmen reinterpret traditional styles and add adornments and then the shoes are finished in Italy. They describe their shoes as “opulent yet off-kilter.” My favorites? The Marila backless loafers and the Vivian canvas mules.
Best For: Ballets
Matt Bernson believes in building deep relationships with his producers and employing slow fashion principles. He works with ethical factories in China, Portugal, and Spain to create his handmade shoes. Every factory pays fair wages and provides safe working conditions.
Type: Ethical & Artisan
Best for: Everything Pointy
Best For: Loafers
Luxury classics that are totally ethical. Dear Frances focuses on slow conscious business practices. They work with a team of traditional Italian shoemakers. In the factory, they work to source sustainably and minimize as much waste as possible. My favorites? The Lounge Loafer and the Ballerina.
Type: Ethical & Sustainable & Sometimes Vegan
Best For: Mules & Slingbacks
Spain is one of the many heartlands of traditional craftsmanship. About Arianne, produces everything in Alicante to work with real artisans who are keeping the traditions alive. They also work with their providers to reduce the energy and water waste that normally comes with manufacturing. They have vegan leather options and consciously source vegetable tanned leather for their leather shoes. My favorites? The Galo Vegan Slingbacks and the Tina Suede Bow Mules.
Nida Lu Handmade